Spelman Suspends Cosby Endowed Chair

December 15, 2014

Spelman College announced Sunday that it was suspending an endowed chair named for Bill Cosby and his wife. The chair was financed as part of a $20 million gift from the Cosby family to the college. Until now, even as other colleges have distanced themselves from Cosby in the wake of numerous allegations that he drugged women and forced them to have sex with him (charges he denies), Spelman has not done so.

The statement from the college, in full, says: "The William and Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Endowed Professorship was established to bring positive attention and accomplished visiting scholars to Spelman College in order to enhance our intellectual, cultural and creative life; however, the current context prevents us from continuing to meet these objectives fully. Consequently, we will suspend the program until such time that the original goals can again be met."

Unlike the endowed chair program, which was named in part for Bill Cosby, the Cosby building on Spelman's campus -- the Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Academic Center -- is named only for his wife.

Some Spelman students and alumnae have been pushing the college to drop ties to Bill Cosby. Their comments can be seen on a Twitter hashtag #notmyfather.

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